Citizen Evidence and Evidence-informed Policy-Making: Whose Knowledge Counts?

Sept 25 2018, 9:00-15:00

Evidence 2018 Satellite Event

Pretoria, South Africa

Citizens are increasingly questioning the credibility and legitimacy of expert knowledge in public policy and decision-making processes. As a vital counterbalance to rising tides of elitism and populism, citizen knowledge makes a crucial contribution to policy-making processes and is often brokered through representatives such as civil society organisations, including policy research organisations, or cultural or regional groups. While discussions do take place between policymakers and these groups, there is a need for knowledge-gathering to be much more systematised, and also to be based on processes that create opportunities for genuine co-construction.

Building on an initial discussion held during the African Evidence Informed Policy Forum in March 2018 in Nairobi, this session will be convened by the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) and seeks to continue the conversation with a broader audience interested in both the practice and the concept of citizen evidence. It will explore the place of citizen knowledge as an essential element of evidence-informed policy-making by surfacing emerging practices, opportunities and challenges, and identifying potential areas of collaboration which could help to build an agenda for action.

The session will be highly participatory; requiring participants to share their stories of citizen evidence feeding into policy-making, and collectively identifying ways to promote the inclusion of citizen knowledge as an essential element of evidence-informed policy-making. It will address the following questions:

  • What are the stories of success around citizen knowledge being used as evidence by policy actors?
  • What approaches/mechanisms and partnerships can help to systematically support citizen knowledge in evidence-informed policy-making?
  • How can facilitators and enablers of citizen knowledge in evidence-informed policy-making help navigate power dynamics and create an equitable environment in which knowledge is received, interpreted and shared?


About the Think Tank Initiative

The Think Tank Initiative is helping to strengthen 43 policy research institutions in 20 developing countries over 10 years through a mix of core funding and support for capacity development. The result: these organizations are better positioned to deliver high quality research, operate more sustainably, and engage meaningfully with key stakeholders. Follow the initiative at @TTI_ITT on Twitter.